UAFNews-L Oscar winner to speak at 2015 commencement

Begin forwarded message:

From: “University of Alaska Fairbanks” <uaf-distribution>
Date: April 6, 2015 at 17:48:42 EDT
To: uafnews-l
Subject: [UAFNews-L] Oscar winner to speak at 2015 commencement
Reply-To: newsroom

Oscar winner to speak at 2015 commencement

CONTACT: Marmian Grimes, 907-474-7902, mlgrimes

University of Alaska Fairbanks alumnus and Academy Award winner Ben Grossmann will give the keynote address at the University of Alaska Fairbanks commencement ceremony Sunday, May 10, 2015, at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

Grossmann grew up in Delta Junction. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the mid-1990s and worked as a photojournalist to help pay for his schooling. In 2001, he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a part of the visual effects teams for feature films such as “Spider-Man,” “Master and Commander” and “The Day After Tomorrow.” Grossmann has received multiple awards for his visual effects work, including an Emmy in 2006 for his work on the miniseries “The Triangle” and an Academy Award in 2013 for his work on Martin Scorsese’s film “Hugo.” The day after the Oscars, he was back on set supervising visual effects for “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”

Grossmann is the CEO and co-founder of Magnopus, a visual research and development company in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, Ariane Rosier, and their daughter, Scarlet.

The university will also present three honorary doctoral degrees and two Meritorious Service Awards at its 93rd commencement ceremony.

Geologist Thomas R. Marshall Jr. will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Marshall’s work as a geologist during Alaska’s early years of statehood helped form the foundation for the state’s economy. In 1964, the state was selecting the land it was entitled to under the Alaska Statehood Act. At the time, the foothills of the Brooks Range were considered to have the best potential for oil development. In the face of doubt from both the federal government and the petroleum industry, Marshall convinced state leaders to select land on the North Slope instead. His foresight was validated in 1968 with the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay, one of North America’s largest oil fields. Following the land selection, Marshall continued his career with the State of Alaska for nearly 20 years and played a pivotal role in designing and implementing the state’s oil and gas management system. Following his retirement in 1978, he worked as a consulting geologist on a variety of oil and gas projects and litigation throughout the state.

Yup’ik elder Gust Bartman will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Bartman was born in 1924 in Igushnik, Alaska. He was orphaned at a young age, but his adoptive father impressed upon him the importance of retaining his native language. Throughout his life, he has served his community and culture as a teacher of Yup’ik language and heritage, a storyteller and mentor, a translator during World War II, an amateur boxer and boxing instructor, and an outspoken voice about the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. A resident of Dillingham, he has taught Yup’ik language and culture in many locations throughout the community both in classroom and informal settings. Throughout his life, Bartman has witnessed great change and has inspired those around to learn, teach and preserve the Yup’ik culture and language in the face of that change.

Artist and UAF professor emeritus Ron Senungetuk will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Senungetuk is a sculptor and silversmith whose work has helped position Alaska Native artwork in the international art world. He was born and raised in the village of Wales and attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, where his studies merged Alaska Native and modern Western art. He earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology and was a Fulbright Scholar in Norway prior to accepting a position as a professor at UAF. During his 25-year career at the university, he mentored and inspired countless young and emerging artists and helped establish the Native Art Center, which eventually merged with the Art Department. His commissioned art, including the mace used during the UAF commencement ceremony, is on display throughout Alaska and his work has been featured at shows nationally and internationally. He served as one of the first members of the Alaska State Council on the Arts when it was formed in 1966 and, in 2014, received the Ala!
ska Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and Humanities.

Professor emeritus Tony Gasbarro and former teacher and borough assemblywoman Karen Parr each will receive a Meritorious Service Award.

Gasbarro taught in the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences for 23 years and served as the state extension forester for the Cooperative Extension Service. His dedication to public service began when he joined the Peace Corps after college and continued throughout his career and UAF and after his 1996 retirement, when he rejoined the Peace Corps and traveled to El Salvador as a forestry advisor. Since his return from the Peace Corps in 1998, Gasbarro has given many presentations to high school and university classes about poverty and the education of women in El Salvador. During the past decade, he also volunteered as coordinator of the university’s Peace Corps Master’s International Program.

Parr began her career as a teacher in local schools in 1962. For 25 years, she worked as a classroom teacher and as a champion for the use of educational technology in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Parr’s civic engagement has been as steadfast as her dedication to education. She served multiple terms on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly and twice ran for seats on the Alaska Legislature. She has served on multiple volunteer committees and boards and in 2004 founded the Retirement Community of Fairbanks, a nonprofit corporation that spearheaded the creation of Raven Landing, a senior residential and community center in Fairbanks.

Honorary degree recipients are chosen for their lasting contributions to the state and nation and for significant achievements in their respective disciplines. Meritorious Service Awards recognize outstanding service to the local community or state.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of honorary degree recipients and award winners are available at

If you would rather not receive future communications from University of Alaska Fairbanks, please go to
University of Alaska Fairbanks, 505 South Chandalar Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775 United States

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s